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France Is Stylish, But Not Altogether Respectable: We Recap “Victoria” Season 2 Episode 5

Victoria and Albert in a Carriage

For some of the Royal Court, it felt like a vacation. For others, it was an exercise in diplomacy gone wrong. But for Victoria and Albert, this week’s episode only strengthened their relationship by the time it ended. While we miss Lord M, we’re slowly coming around to Team #Vicbert (Victoria and Albert = Vicbert! If you follow the show on social media, that’s the official couple hashtag).

In a move to deter the French king, Louis Philippe, from severing ties with Britain by marrying his own son to the Spanish princess Luisa, Victoria insists on a visit to France in order to speak to the king directly. As it happens, Louis Philippe was on good terms with her father, the Duke of Kent, before he passed away and Victoria feels the need to remind him of their friendship with Britain. While some seem to be excited at the thought (Lord Alfred, Wilhelmina), others like the Duchess of Buccleuch, Sir Robert Peel, and Prince Albert remain cynical, if not cautious.

 
But for much of this episode, Albert has his own lineage on his mind. He doesn’t provide Victoria much support at all upon their arrival to France, horrified by the over-the-top grandeur and flashy appearances by the ladies at court. It comes to a head when Victoria, in an attempt to fit in with the fashionable French court (and in her words, look less like the Duchess of Buccleuch), tries cosmetics for the first time at the welcome dinner. While the rest of the guests are in awe of the young queen, Albert is repulsed, and asks her not to wear it again. Victoria remains frustrated: her political mission isn’t going as easily as planned, and her husband is disengaged from both their personal and professional lives.
"I wish you wouldn't look so disapproving and smile a bit more." - Queen Victoria

It takes a drastic measure for Albert to finally set his judgments aside. As he, Drummond, Lord Alfred, and Ernest (can we have a collective hurray at the return of Ernest?! With so many beautiful women around, it’s unlikely he’d stay away. And, of course, he’d be supporting a Spanish union with the Coburgs) sneak away from a garden party, they find a waterfall where prudish Albert gets his boldest idea yet: skinny dipping. The French are utterly disgusted at their idea of amusement, but the dip in the water was what Albert needed to finally come clean to Victoria about his questionable parentage (not to mention, we enjoy watching Lord Alfred and Drummond bond even more! It wasn’t respectable, but they certainly had, ahem, a bit of fun). He doesn’t feel as if he’s worthy to stand by her side. But Victoria, as good as a wife as she is a queen, knows exactly what to say before they settle in for an afternoon delight.

"...then we have a problem... I cannot face this world without you." - Queen Victoria
Victoria and Albert reconcile

The episode concludes with a wave of hope, disappointment, and hope yet again. Victoria and Albert reunite as a queen and prince consort to tackle the issue of Louis Philippe, who finally assures them that there won’t be a marriage between Luisa and a French prince. Satisfied, the royal court leaves what the Duchess of Buccleuch called “A Godless country”, preferring boiled mutton and turnips to the French food covered in sauces. But their success is short-lived after their return to London, as Louis Philippe decides to unite France and Spain through marriage anyway, effectively destroying France’s relationship with Britain (although, after the successful revolution of 1848 resulting in his abdication of the French throne, he lived out his remaining years in Surrey. Go figure). But there’s a glimmer of hope at the end of the episode, as Victoria and Albert find themselves pregnant once again.

Reminders For Tweet Of The Week And A Giveaway

Unfortunately, we had no qualifying tweets for winning Tweet of the Week this week. Remember, in order to qualify for Tweet of the Week, you must follow us on Twitter @mygpb, post comments, images, and/or video relating to Victoria during our live-tweet session, and tag us @mygpb and use the hashtag #GPBLovesVictoriaPBS. We contact winners by direct message on Twitter, so if you do not follow us, we can’t tell you that you’ve won.

Instead, we’ll be running a giveaway for one copy of the Victoria audiobook by Daisy Goodwin! You have until Tuesday, February 6th to enter. We will pick one winner no later than Thursday, February 8th.

Join us next week for the next live-tweet of Victoria. We’ll be giving away a Victoria Season 2 poster! We pick a new winner every week!

The next episode of Victoria airs Sunday, February 4th at 9 p.m.

 
Rachel Buchman Guest Blogger

Rachel Buchman is an avid "Downton Abbey" and Masterpiece Theatre fan who is excited to join GPB’s “Desperate for Downton” blog. An eager fan of all things British, she began watching the first season of Downton Abbey in 2012 and hasn’t looked back. A degree in English Literature from The University of Chicago and a love for... more